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Spencer Tunick Sydney
Photograph: Supplied/Spencer Tunick

Things to do in Sydney this weekend

All the best ways to make the most of your Friday to Sunday

Written by
Time Out editors
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Living for the weekend? In a town like Sydney we don't blame you. There are fun times to be had all over the city, and this handy guide has everything you need to know to make the very most of your Friday to Sunday. 

This weekend, we are stripping down at Bondi Beach for a legendary nude photoshoot led by acclaimed photographer Spencer Tunick, then we will be rocking with Guns N' Roses on the stadium stage (seriously), getting down at the legendary Show Us Ya Tips show, and losing ourselves in the pure power of the Jungle and the Sea

Essentially: this weekend, there's something poppin' out there for everyone.

Plus, for all those who want to keep the party going with a bit of a jig, head out in your weekend-best and cut a rug on the best dancefloors in Sydney.

Also, since many Sydneysiders are homebound or may not be vibing with heading out into the world, we also have you covered for the best things to do at home as well as the best things to do out and about, below. 

We also have you covered for the best shows to see in Sydney, the best art exhibitions to check out, and the best new restaurants and bars in town

Sydney, it's time to get amongst it. 

Make the most of Sydney this weekend

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Bondi Beach

Acclaimed American photographer Spencer Tunick is renowned for his series of photographs that capture gatherings of thousands of people posing nude in iconic locations. Now, Tunick is calling upon Sydneysiders to participate in his next project, to be shot on Bondi Beach on Saturday, November 26. However, participants should be sure to pack some sunblock – this installation is held in collaboration with charity Skin Check Champions to raise awareness about skin cancer prevalence in Australia.

 

  • Art
  • Ultimo

Gather ‘round, fashion lovers. Ultimo’s Powerhouse Museum has unveiled details of a major survey exhibition which will celebrate the life and legacy of distinguished and oh-so-fashionable Sydneysider, Carla Zampatti.The first internationally exclusive retrospective of Carla Zampatti (1938–2021) will present the life and work of the inimitable Italian-born designer, beloved as an Australian fashion icon.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Surry Hills

In the opening scenes of The Jungle and the Sea, we meet Gowrie, her husband Siva, her three daughters Lakshmi, Abi, Madhu and her son Ahilan. Amidst air-raid sirens and plans to flee Sri Lanka to Australia, the family get to know that Ahilan has been recruited by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (TTE), a militant tamil organisation seeking to create an independent Tamil state in the north-east of Sri Lanka. Through a series of incidents, Siva and Lakshmi flee to Sydney while Gowrie, Abi and Madhu stay behind to find Ahilan. This show is powerful, immense and mindblowing. We recommend you get tickets without delay. 

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  • Art
  • Galleries

Experience the interconnectedness of nature and culture, art and science, history and geology at Siteworks 2022: From a Deep Valley. This major new exhibition and program of installations, performances, talks and workshops will take place at Bundanon – the subterranean art museum set on 1,000 hectares of wildlife sanctuary, just a day trip away from Sydney in the Shoalhaven. It's a place for learning, healing and connecting with both art and nature. 

  • Art
  • Galleries

In 1933, Joe Anderson – also known as “King Burraga” – was filmed on the banks of the Georges River at Salt Pan Creek declaring a petition to the King of England calling for equal rights and justice for Indigenous Australians. Almost a century later, First Nations artists are honouring Joe’s political legacy and echoing his calls to action at Bankstown Arts Centre. SubTerrains is this year’s theme at Bankstown Biennale. It is a First Nations and artists’ led response to local narratives of land and water and the hidden truths nestled within Bankstown’s landscape, especially Salt Pan Creek.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

There is something perfect about Come From Away finally landing in Sydney. The musical is set on 9/11 in the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland, to which 38 planes were diverted when United States airspace was closed in the wake of the terrorist attack. The almost 7,000 passengers on board, terrified, claustrophobic and desperate for news about what was happening, were taken in by the people of Gander and surrounding towns, nearly doubling the population for five days.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Millers Point

At first glance, The Tempest, Sydney Theatre Company’s final production of the 2022 season, seems like a breather for director Kip Williams. Especially after the formal daring of this year’s Julius Caesar and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, both of which employed his high tech cine-theatre technique, which blurs the lines between theatre and cinema. By contrast, The Tempest’s staging is deceptively simple, set designer Jacob Nash centring the action around a large rocky outcropping on a rotating stage, while Nick Schlieper’s stormy lighting fills in the rest of the scenery. But it's in the writing that we see some audacious alterations. 

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • The Rocks

Korean-born, London-based sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh is an incredible engineer of space and time. Like Doctor Who in the TARDIS, he can seemingly reconfigure the walls of any gallery to materialise incandescent forms that mess with the fabric of a room. He, quite literally, plays with our perceptions by creating ghostly fabric structures. You can be transported by Suh’s shapeshifting spectacles with a massive solo show at the MCA, his first staged in the Southern Hemisphere, as part of Sydney International Art Series. 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Dawes Point

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the great legal mind, feminist, and later, improbably, the pop culture darling, would know better than most. And RBG: Of Many, One, written by Suzie Miller (of Prima Facie fame) and directed by Priscilla Jackman (White Pearl) tries to trace that journey, and let the audience feel the rush of all those tides. Grab your tickets now to see this one-woman show celebrating one of the world's greatest feminist icons take the Sydney stage. 

 

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  • Theatre
  • Comedy
  • Darlington

Our latest prime minister, Anthony Albanese, gets a turn in the hot seat thanks to the affable satirists of the Wharf Revue and their latest show, Looking for Albanese. Between their season in Canberra and their upcoming national tour, Jonathan Biggins, Mandy Bishop, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott will set down at the Seymour Centre for a merciless but mirthful take at everything that has occurred under the Albanese government since the last federal election, including (but not limited to) “inflation, rising interest rates, conflict in Ukraine, climate disaster, culture wars, Covid-19-20-21-22-23, and a looming World War III”. 

  • Nightlife
  • Erskineville

If large, fantastical and queer friendly parties in a hidden Inner West basement are your thing, you may want to check out the wonders of Sydney’s shiniest party gods, also known as Honcho Disko. This otherworldly party event happens every month, going off in full fairytale swing, with wildly themed parties going off in the Imperial’s expansive basement every month. Honcho is known for their iridescent self-expression, unbridled creativity and seriously good times, with this safe LGBTQIA+ party space guaranteed to give you a night of revelry to remember. 

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Moulin Rouge! The Musical has finally made its dazzling debut in Sydney, and everyone's invited. The costumes are glittering masterpieces, the staging is the most sumptuous and marvellous you’re ever likely to see, the dance numbers are dynamic and technically flawless, and each and every performer is worth their weight in diamonds.

 

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

Sydney's fairy godmother has really come through for the city. Rodgers and Hammerstein's opulent production of Cinderella is pulling up its pumpkin carriage in the Emerald City in October 2022, bringing with it all the magic and music of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show. Expect a performance filled with glittering glass slippers, bewitched pumpkins and extravagant gowns, all tempered with a few unusual twists. This Cinderella is no damsel in distress and knows how to fight to make her dreams come true. Cinderella will play at Sydney's Lyric Theatre from October 23. 

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  • Film
  • Film festivals
  • Sydney

The 30th anniversary of the Jewish International Film Festival might just be their best line-up yet, bringing the latest and best feature films, documentaries, and shorts from the Jewish diaspora around the world. A whopping 52 films will screen this year, including 30 feature films, 20 documentaries, two TV series episodes, and three critically acclaimed short films, encompassing 47 Australian Premieres, 1 World Premiere and 1 International Premiere. All up 21 different countries are represented. Don't miss out!

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Dawes Point

Sydney Theatre Company presents this intimate, behind-the-curtain audience with one woman who changed the face of the American legal system and history, all performed by one actor: the incomparable Heather Mitchell.Hot on the heels of her hugely successful one-woman play Prima Facie – which recently made a celebrated West End debut with Killing Eve star Jodie Comer – Aussie playwright and lawyer Suzie Miller has written a new one-woman show based on the life of the iconic former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg – AKA the notorious RBG.

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  • Museums
  • Ultimo

The alternative music scene of the ‘90s is the focus of this new major exhibition at the Powerhouse. Unpopular draws on artifacts from the archive of renowned music promoter Stephen ‘Pav’ Pavlovic, the founder of the legendary Summersault festival tour. A key player in the music industry, Pav was responsible for the first and only Australian tour by Nirvana, and also brought the likes of the Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Beck, Foo Fighters, Pavement, Rancid, Jawbreaker, Bikini Kill and the Amps to our shores.

 

  • Comedy
  • Chippendale

Yeah the Girls Comedy is a weekly all-women's comedy night showcasing some of the best performers across the country as well as some up-and-coming local acts. Comedy in recent times has become a much more egalitarian world for creative expression and Yeah the Girls epitomises this shift. At this weekly comedy night audiences can expect to see Sydney’s best female performers, with a few guys sprinkled in, all drawing out rapturous belly laughs – what better way could there be to finish a weekend?

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  • Travel
  • getaways

We've tried and tested some of our favourite campgrounds, located in New South Wales’ most breathtaking and secluded spots. Whether you're hoping to wake up next to the Harbour, to the sound of crashing ocean waves, deep within unspoilt national parkland, or not too far from some creature comforts, these picture-perfect camping spots have got you (quite literally) pegged.

  • Things to do
  • Surry Hills

Discover the history of a) gin or b) tequila – and the best places to taste it – on this epic guided tour of Sydney’s boutique distilleries and hidden gin and tequila bars. On your travels, you'll sample five top gins (or tequilas) and five superb cocktails (all free) while learning about this popular tipple's fascinating histories. You'll walk away feeling very pleasantly buzzed.

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  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Darlinghurst

If you’re fascinated by the ocean's most fierce apex predator, then you won’t want to miss this spectacular new exhibition, which is debuting at the Australian Museum before it goes on to tour the world. In this new exhibition, visitors will explore the diversity of these ancient predators with eleven life-size shark models, interactive experiences and specimens from the Australian Museum collection. With cultural connections reaching back countless generations, visitors will also discover how First Nations’ and Pasifika Peoples’ knowledge of sharks can help us protect them.

 

  • Travel
  • getaways

Sydneysiders are a lucky bunch. Jump in the car and within just a few hours you can find yourself in some of the most beautiful spots in the state. But with so many options to choose from, it begs the question: where should you visit first? You're certainly spoilt for choice, so we've cherry-picked a selection of the best day trips from the city – featuring quaint villages, seaside hangouts and mountain escapes. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Newtown

From the industry legends that brought us Sydney institutions Tio’s, Cantina OK and the Cliff Dive comes the next great nocturnal adventure: Bar Planet, a psychedelic Inner West dive-bar re-imagining the world's most divisive cocktail, the Martini. Located smack-bang on gritty, emerging drink and dine strip Enmore Road, Bar Planet illuminates the well trod sidewalk with its signage’s neon blue hue. Inside, bent-up wrought iron light fittings reminiscent of space junk, loom over patrons while they snack on paper bags full of popcorn at the intergalactic themed bar.

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Camperdown

Now is your chance to check out the late modernist art collection that formed the basis of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Light and Darkness at the Chau Chak Wing Museum – the dynamic museum of art, science, history and ancient cultures at the University of Sydney – surveys art from the 1960s to the 1980s. It features internationally renowned artists from the era such as Bridget Riley, Roy Lichtenstein and Colin McCahon, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Robert Rauschenberg.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Potts Point

Go to Italy for cheap this weekend with a bottomless brunch trip to Fortuna Drink & Eat, a bright Italian eatery and all-day diner that has just emerged on the streets of Darlinghurst. This brand-new brunch event will be all about bringing you that delectable Italian chill as you snaffle seven morish dishes, including freshly baked focaccia, marinated olives, porchetta, golden roasted potatoes and herby, creamy burrata – all on top of a never-ending flow of Aperol Spritz, Negronis, Mimosas, beer and vino on ice, for the duration of your 90-minute sitting. Bellissimo! 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms

Crustless cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and tiered plates of petit fours.  Sydney loves a pinky-lifting high tea, and with good reason. Once you've got baked goodies, tea selections for every palette and beautiful surrounds – maybe harbour views, like at the Mosman Barracks, or cultivated gardens at historic Vaucluse House – you've got all the elements of an aspirational afternoon of ever-so fancy leisure.

 

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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops

The Harbour City is not always a great place for fun in the sun, as this year's persistent rains have proven. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you don't need to hunker down at home. Why not take shelter in style with our guide to the most fun things to do indoors in Sydney? Whether you're in search of a crafternoon, a cultural adventure, or a cocktail with a view, there's something for everyone on our list of fun venues and activities where you can stay warm and dry, all year round.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Hark! What's that? If it's winter in Sydney and you're standing by the sea, it could very well be the gentle giants of the Big Blue popping up to say hello – and, y'know, breathe. In Sydney, May to November is your best bet to catch a glimpse of some humpback whales, as 20,000 of them make moves along the New South Wales coastline during the colder months. If you want to try your luck this weekend, head to one of our top vantage point picks and get ready to wave a long distance hello. 

  • Shopping
  • Markets

 Sydney is back. Weekends are back. Life is back. And with this great resurgence of good times, we are also welcoming back one of our most beloved cultural institutions - the humble weekend market. Snaffling fried brunchy fare on the grass, hanging with dogs, uncovering a mint condition leather jacket beneath some dusty leggings, jiving to a live saxaphone player before 10am - all these myriad of delights are available at pretty much any Sydney market, and the good news is that now, you get to experience it too.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Marrickville

Suspend your reality for a moment. Imagine it's 1980s Australia and you're a True Blue Bruce. This is truly your time. On the cusp of its five year birthday, Hawke's Brewing Company, the brewery co-founded by former prime minister Bob Hawke, has thrown open the doors of a flagship venue, housed inside its newly built 2,100 square-meter brewery in Marrickville.

 

  • Travel
  • getaways

Sydneysiders are a lucky bunch. Jump in the car and within just a few hours you can find yourself in some of the most beautiful spots in the state. But with so many options to choose from, it begs the question: where should you visit first? You're certainly spoilt for choice, so we've cherry-picked a selection of the best day trips from the city – featuring quaint villages, seaside hangouts and mountain escapes.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Aboriginal Australia has a rich culture that’s survived more than 60,000 years. Aboriginal people have survived catastrophic changes to their cultures and ways of life brought about by Europeans since 1788, and there’s a lot that visitors can learn from the oldest living culture in the world. Really get to know the city of Sydney through the connection to land that its First Nations peoples have and continue to uphold through these four Sydney tours.

  • Things to do

Are you ready to chase arty escapades around the city? The Biennale of Sydney has unleashed a packed program for 2022, with over 330 artworks by 89 participants and 400 events, which are showing over three months. The largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, as always, the Biennale is free to visit and open to the public. Check out our highlight picks.

 

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Darling Harbour

While the weather has been unpredictable at best, with winds and rain set to disrupt plans for the foreseeable future, there is one failsafe place you can go to commune with nature in comfort. Sydney is taking temporary custody of the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. On loan from London’s Natural History Museum, this world-class collection of mesmerising images is being housed at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Newtown

What's in a name? Well, if that name is Odd Culture Newtown, there's not much left to the imagination. King Street's newest natty joint is going hard on the ferments, wild yeasts and all things bubbly. Taking over the coveted Happy Chef space (vale), Odd Culture is a two-level craft beer, natural wine and ferment-happy diner from the group that brought us the Oxford Tav, the Old Fitz and the Duke of Enmore. With friends like that, you know it's going to be all killer, no filler. 

 

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  • Things to do

Elm Rooftop Bar is redefining one of Sydneysiders’ favourite pastimes – the bottomless brunch – with the launch of the country’s first-and-only drag king brunch. With free-flowing prestige cuvée and rosé, good vibes, and delectable bites, there’s no better excuse to round up your mates. Not familiar with drag kings? Think the opposite of a drag queen. Drag kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes.

 

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Everyone's favourite party circus, basement dwelling Ramblin' Rascals are all grown up and shifting gears. Yes, the debauchery remains, but after nearly a decade of liver-smashing, whiskey shooting and rollicking party intensity, the team is letting some of Sydney's finest musos take charge by putting on gigs every dang week with a revolving line up of local acts, so there's a little something to please everyone. 

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  • Museums
  • History

Sydney is home to some pretty fascinating museums, places where you can learn about ships, time, military history, society, the police force and more. Rain or shine, head out on a journey of discovery at these all-weather-friendly houses of knowledge. You'll learn about fascinating natural histories, scientific endeavours, design innovations and the many surprising stories that have made this city everything it is today.

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Walks

From easy breezy coastal walks to half-day bush hikes and multi-day expeditions, Sydney’s blessed with many different walking paths that’ll suit amblers of all abilities. Take a look at our list of 13 walks in Sydney that’ll take you over dramatic sandstone cliffs, cobbled stone paths, sandy inlets and well-trodden boardwalks.

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